In my view a lot of what makes email marketing a success is the quality of the email list you are using.
You most definitely need a fabulous message which is highly relevant to your audience and hits them straight in the heart. But if you use a list that has been scraped from websites, or has been compiled in some other way without permission, you are effectively working off a poor quality list, so you will get limited response.
Some of the better ways to build a high quality list is to collect emails from people who have an interest in your product. You can maybe offer a coupon for a product at a discount to people in return for their email address.
So say you had two products, a low cost and a higher cost product. Make a coupon for the lower cost product and advertise this in the areas where your likely customers will gather. When they see your advert they will click it and be taken to the advertising page and be requested to share their email address in return for the coupon.
Now that you have their email address you can email them and tell them about your higher priced product and because you know they were interested in your lower priced product, they are much more likely to respond to your email and possibly purchase your second product, than anyone else would.
I guess its called a qualified email list and permission based email marketing, but in my view it is the difference between success and failure in running an email marketing campaign.
I will be discussing other ways of ensuring email marketing is success in future articles, these include, ensuring you have a high rate of deliver-ability of emails and how far analytics can go in ensuring you understand what your target audience is thinking when they receive your email.